Which Device is Used Most Often for Video Capture? (Hint: It’s Not a Camcorder or a Digital Camera!)

Eve Padula
Dec 5, 2011

Over the past few years, the videography market has seen numerous shifts and technological developments. Apart from traditional camcorders, most of today’s digital cameras, smartphones, camera phones, and even tablets now offer the ability to capture video clips. In October 2011, InfoTrends conducted a Web-based questionnaire in the United States to foster a better understanding of today’s videography market. This year’s 2011 Videography End-User Study followed up on earlier research conducted in 2008 and 2010.

Although camcorders are the traditional video capture devices, 2011 marked the first year that the greatest percentage of survey participants described their primary videography device as a mobile phone. During our 2010 study, respondents most commonly cited a digital camera or camcorder as their primary videography device. In 2011, however, camera phones and smartphones moved from last place to first place. This year, nearly 40% of respondents reported that their mobile phone was their primary video capture device. Meanwhile, digital camcorders experienced the sharpest year-over-year decline.

Figure 1: What type of device do you use MOST OFTEN to shoot videos? (2010 vs. 2011)

Mobile phones were the most popular videography devices in 2011, and InfoTrends expects this trend to continue in the future. There are two primary reasons for this:

  • Many consumers already carry their mobile phones with them at all times, so these devices are always accessible for spontaneous video capture.
  • Camera phone and smartphone specifications are improving all the time. In addition to offering high resolution, many of today’s mobile phones feature digital zoom and image stabilization for higher quality video capture.

Although technological developments are certainly bringing about changes to the industry, this does not spell death for the digital camcorder market. In relation to mobile phones and digital cameras, digital camcorders are used much more frequently for video capture. Nearly 20% of mobile phone owners and 39% of digital camera owners reported never using their devices for video capture, compared to less than 1% of camcorder owners. Meanwhile, 20% of digital camera owners and 27% of mobile phone owners reported using their devices for video capture at least once a week. The same was true for nearly 47% of camcorder owners. Camcorder users also took video clips that were 10 to 20 times longer. InfoTrends’ research also confirms that the majority of respondents who are planning to purchase a video capture device in the near future expect to purchase a digital camcorder rather than a digital camera or mobile phone.

Minimalists or people who just want to shoot short video clips will likely continue to use their smartphones for video capture because these devices are convenient to use and generally accessible at all times. Meanwhile, videography enthusiasts, hobbyists, parents, and early adopters of technology will demand the enhanced capabilities of a digital camcorder. Digital camcorders offer better video performance, improved audio, and internal memory. Additionally, since they are more ergonomically designed, camcorders offer the most comfortable experience for lengthy video capture.

InfoTrends’ newly-released document entitled 2011 Videography End-User Study offers extensive insight into the evolving video capture market. For more information on how to purchase this study, please visit InfoTrends’ online store or contact Matt O’Keefe at matt_okeefe@infotrends.com or (781) 616-2115.

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